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No respite for the digital advertising industry: Apple to strike at e-mail addresses

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The digital advertising industry and re targeting platforms have not seen any respite recently, as they are being called upon to show some resilience. After Google’s announcement of the upcoming end of third-party cookies, urging industry players to reinvent their tracking methods and rely more on first-party data; and Apple’s introduction of iOS 14.5 and its renowned Apple Tracking Transparency (ATT) allowing users to prevent data tracking by platforms such as Facebook, it is now the time for emails to be in the firing line.

Indeed, Apple has announced the rollout in the fall, at the same time as the release of IOS 15, of features that will restrict the leeway of actors in the sector…

More features for protecting email addresses : the Mail Privacy Protection and  the “Hide my email” functionality  

The Mail Privacy Protection is meant to « prevent email senders from using pixel tags to collect information about users of Apple’s Mail application »[1]. By enabling the feature, users may prevent senders from knowing when they have opened the email and hide their IP address, making location-based targeting more difficult.

Second is the « Hide my email » feature, which will enable iCloud Plus users to generate a new, unique, random email address when they register for a website or app from their Apple device. This way, the parties to whom the email address is communicated will no longer have any interest in selling this same address to other parties for commercial purposes.

These new features are inevitably concerning for actors and brands who, as part of an acquisition or targeting approach in display, make use of email as a pillar of their targeting. This is all the more of a blow as some of them, like Unified ID 2.0, had hoped to make email a substitute for the third-party cookie.

An opportunity for revisiting the relevant KPIs

First of all, it is important to put the impact of these features into perspective. Indeed, the Mail Privacy Protection will only apply to Apple’s native Mail application (less than 10% of the market) and the functionality will not be extended by default. As for « Hide my mail », we can assume that, as long as the feature will be charged ( its price is not yet known), its use should remain limited.

Furthermore, according to Sylvain Le Borgne, head of media expertise at fifty-five, this is an opportunity for marketers to review their KPIs and prioritize quality over quantity. It is thus an occasion to focus on KPIs that are closer to the business: number of responses, leads generated or transactions completed. « It’s like display, when at the time it was assumed that advertising was fantastic because it generated clicks. Over time, we have moved towards other, more qualitative KPIs, and the same will be true for email »[2], he says.

As Olivier Mazeron, managing director at Accenture Interactive, explains: « Internet users start realizing that the interactions they have with brands constitute personal, monitorable and tangible data »[3]. There is therefore a real awakening of Internet users and a desire to regain the power and rights that were previously denied to them. « We have gone too far in collecting personal information such as email! We need to go back to more virtuous practices »[4] adds Olivier Mazeron. Hence, the self-proclaimed leader in privacy, Apple, has grasped the stakes of this awareness, and is seizing upon it to empower customers while ensuring that it remains compatible with the smooth running of customer marketing.


[1] Jaimes, Nicolas. “Après Les Cookies Tiers, L’email Nouvelle Cible D’Apple Et Google?” Journaldunet.com, JDN, 3 Sept. 2021, www.journaldunet.com/ebusiness/crm-marketing/1505073-apres-les-cookies-tiers-l-email-nouvelle-cible-d-apple-et-google/.

[2] See note 1

[3] See note 1

[4] Idem


Sources :
  • Clover, Juli. “IOS 15 Privacy Guide: Private Relay, Hide My Email, Mail Privacy Protection, App Reports and More.” MacRumors, MacRumors, 25 Aug. 2021, www.macrumors.com/guide/ios-15-privacy/.
  • Jaimes, Nicolas. “Après Les Cookies Tiers, L’email Nouvelle Cible D’Apple Et Google?” com, JDN, 3 Sept. 2021, www.journaldunet.com/ebusiness/crm-marketing/1505073-apres-les-cookies-tiers-l-email-nouvelle-cible-d-apple-et-google/.
  • Sargeant, Melissa. “Apple Is Changing Mail Privacy Protection and Email Marketers Must Prepare.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 18 Aug. 2021, techcrunch.com/2021/08/18/apple-is-changing-mail-privacy-protection-and-email-marketers-must-prepare/.



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